Paid internship opportunity

CASSI interns will receive $7,000 for their 10-week internship and be provided housing.

World-class research

Students will work with senior researchers on topics such as the first galaxies in the universe, accreting black holes, dark matter, exoplanets, and the life and death of stars.

Professional development

CASSI Interns will participate in a coding boot camp during the first week of the program as well as an educational program designed to teach crucial scientific communication skills.

Program Overview

The Carnegie Astrophysics Summer Student Internship Program (CASSI) is a 10 week, paid internship and educational program based at Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena. We welcome a diverse cohort of 10-15 undergraduates from colleges and universities in Southern California to join Carnegie astronomers in collaborative original research projects.

CASSI interns also participate in an educational program that includes over 60 activities designed to improve students' fluency and ease with scientific communication and scientific computing. At the end of the summer, nine out of 10 CASSI interns feel more comfortable presenting their research than they did at the start of the program and 10 out of 10 feel more prepared for future work in astronomy.

The program immerses interns in the campus life at the Carnegie Observatories. From scientific talks by Observatories scientists to CASSI group meetings focused on developing an array of skills and discussing a variety of topics related to the professional astronomy community, each week of the program is designed to provide interns with the tools that will set them up for for success in the program and beyond.

CASSI features structured mentoring by Carnegie Observatories faculty and postdoctoral fellows, as well as other forms of professional development workshops that are intended to fully support the students throughout the the program and in their future careers.

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Information for 2024 CASSI Participants

Magellan Baade telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory


Using data from Carnegie's telescopes, students will have the chance to work on topics such as exoplanets, early galaxies, black holes, and dark matter. 

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Summer student doing engineering work with a Carnegie postdoc.


CASSI interns are paired with broader mentoring teams to help support their development during their time at Carnegie and beyond. 

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CASSI students in the Carnegie Observatories library

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

One of the goals of CASSI is to increase participation and retention of under-represented groups in astronomy. We encourage scholars with diverse identities - especially those under-represented in science - to applyCASSI interns participate in programming highlighting the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in Astronomy, as well as STEM more generally. The students also organize an annual outreach program for Upward Bound high school students where they share their expertise on college with potential first-generation college students.


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Summer student presents his work at the AAS meeting.

Science Communication

CASSI interns participate in a wide range of programs during the summer aimed at improving their scientific communication. These range from writing and poster workshops to short weekly oral presentations of their work. The program culminates in a symposium where all students present the results of their research program to the Observatories community. Upon successful completion of the program, all students will also be given the opportunity to attend the American Astronomical Society meeting the following January to present their research.

NSF Graduate Fellows, Churchill and Fulbright Scholars

6 NSF GRFP Fellows and 3 Honorable Mentions, 1 Churchill Scholar and 1 Fulbright Scholar


AAS Recognitions

7 Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Awards and 7 Honorable Mentions since 2019

Program Alumni

48 percent of alumni who have completed their undergraduate programs have gone on to graduate or professional schools in astronomy or other fields. But we also have alums who have amazing careers in tech, engineering, science writing and beyond.

Contact the CASSI Director

The Application for Summer 2025 will be posted in December, 2024

We invite applications from all students enrolled in institutes of higher learning in California, or who are current or prior residents of the state and are attending school elsewhere. One of the goals of the summer program at Carnegie is to increase participation and retention of under-represented groups in astronomy. As such, we encourage scholars with diverse identities—especially those under-represented in science—to apply. DACA and international students studying in the state of California are also eligible for participation in our program. 

CASSI News Highlights